PIGSHIT: Frankie Teardrop

Ten so long years ago, a random gathering of some of the best musicians from Canada’s greatest musical berg threw themselves onstage as part of the annual Locke Street Festival. Spearheaded by legendary Junkhouse dog Tom Wilson, said ad-hoc combo was busy rocking and rolling things all the way up that street as the sun slid down when suddenly, a most familiar figure was spotted nearby.

The lead singer of the one, the only, Teenage Head.

Frankie, 1977

As would later be reported in the press, “I asked Frankie, ‘Frankie, fuck man, you’ve got to come up here and sing,'” Wilson says. “He said, ‘You got to give me a hundred bucks.’ So I reached into my pocket and I only had fifty, so I asked Dave Rave for the other half. I said, ‘Dave, fifty bucks for Frankie.’

“And this was the kind of love they had for Frankie. Dave didn’t ask me, ‘What for? What does Frankie need fifty bucks for?’ He was just pulling it out of his pocket. And Frankie got up and did ‘Let’s Shake’.”

It turned out to be the last-ever public appearance of Francis Hannah Kerr, much better known – and most rightfully so – as Frankie Venom, who along with his high school pals four-plus decades ago decided to form a band in between spins of NY Dolls, Stooges and, yes, Flamin’ Groovies records. Remarkably, that little band that could went on to garner two gold and one platinum platters of their very own; the latest, in fact, gathers all their bravest hits and then some onto one 20-digital-track, or even better double-pink vinyl set. Fun Comes Fast indeed.

In a scar-studded career that admittedly held more bumps than most bands’, Teenage Head never turned (or toned) things down, never towed anyone’s line, and never ever made a bad record or gave a bad show that I, or anyone else for that matter, should care to recall. And whether slithering across the heat pipes of Toronto’s (in)famous Crash ‘n’ Burn club, opening for the Pretenders, Talking Heads and Elvis Costello in front of fifty-thousand at Canada’s Heatwave festival – or belting ‘Let’s Shake’ for and with some old friends on Locke Street on a warm late eve – Frankie Venom was every single inch the Head above all others. 

He succumbed to throat cancer on October 15, 2008, aged fifty-two. Your record collection has never been the same.

For a taste of Frankie Venom and his band Teenage Head, check out their song “Some Kinda Fun“. 

To check out more on the music and current activities of Teenage Head, click on the record cover below:









Osheaga 2011 in review: When does a lot become too much?

It seems the current trend with music festivals is to focus on cramming as many acts as possible onto as many stages as possible, in as few days as possible, pushing the ideas of comfort, enjoyment and feasibility much, much lower down the priorities list.

Montreal’s annual Osheaga festival is known for bringing audiences a wide array of performances, from different genres and regions of the world, but this year’s installment seemed to fall victim to the aforementioned trend. Now, before you decide whether you agree with my review or not, please allow me to plead my case.

Reviews and Suggestions

There’s Nothing Like Being Set Freedy!!

Freedy Johnston – Rain On The City

With this album Johnston answers the musical question of ‘what the hell happened to Freedy Johnston?’ quite handily, giving his fans (or what’s left of them) a disc of new songs after a seven year sabbatical from studio recording. Though almost a lifetime in the pop music world, Johnston hasn’t been totally silent, having released a live album and an odds-and-sods collection of early songs since Right Between The Promises , his last studio release in 2003 for Elektra Records. But, for the most part, this is Johnston’s “comeback” record and it’s fitting it should be for Bar/None, the label on which he released his first three much-acclaimed albums in the early ’90’s . While more than enough time has passed for Johnston to get a new look from both his old fans and from the public at large, his original fanbase may have moved on, so Johnston has both the benefit of being fondly remembered and the negative of having to prove himself again and remind people of his past successes , relatively minor though they may be.

Negatives aside, this “starting over” position may be the best thing for him as he really should have been huge by the end of the ’90’s. This may give him a chance to hit the “do-over” button and get the acclaim he has always deserved for his great songwriting style and the time he’s put into honing it.


Brian Ray on Playing with Paul McCartney, Jimmy Page, Etta James and His Upcoming Album

redbone1Brian Ray calls himself a “Reluctant Rock God and Guitarist” on his MySpace, but what’s perhaps even more impressive is that he’s scored one of the best gigs around: since 2002 he has been Paul McCartney’s bass player and yes, that’s The Beatles‘ Sir Paul McCartney. However, Brian Ray’s extensive career is not to be undermined. He’s accomplished many great musical feats and in the past has played with greats such as Bobby Pickett, Etta James and Smokey Robinson and, more recently, played on Chris Cornell’s solo album. He’s even released his own solo record, Mondo Magneto, and has a second in the works. Brian recently agreed to honor The Rock and Roll Report with an exclusive interview.

Q:  You just finished a tour with Paul McCartney, how was it?

A: BR: Yes, we finished a recent big stadium tour in the US [11 dates] and it was a fabulous time, including the new Citifield Stadium [home of the NY Mets] and the outdoor concert on the rooftop marquee of the Ed Sullivan Theatre [home of David Letterman’s Show].